Google is planning to introduce new privacy controls for Chromebooks that will allow users to instantly block all apps and sites from accessing the computer’s camera and microphone. The move will provide an efficient software replacement for the physical camera and mic kill switch found on various PC laptops.
New Camera and Mic Toggles
The new systemwide privacy controls will cut off the rest of the computer’s access to the hardware. This will make it easier for Chromebook manufacturers to simplify the laptop design and use the built-in ChromeOS solution instead of adding hardware switches that cut power to the camera. However, a full-on severance of power to the camera and mic is still the most secure option. For visual confirmation, one can always adhere a plastic sliding gate. The ChromeOS camera and mic toggles are set to arrive in an unspecified future software update “later this year,” according to Google.
Once the update arrives, Chromebook users will be able to access a new section called Privacy Controls, which will be found under Settings > Security and Privacy. The new systemwide privacy controls will cut off the rest of the computer’s access to the hardware, providing an efficient software replacement for the physical camera and mic kill switch found on various PC laptops.
Enterprise and Business-Oriented Security Features
Google is also expanding enterprise and business-oriented security features, including new identity and data control features that help IT departments manage user logins and help keep sensitive information from inadvertently traveling around and outside organizations. The new features include the ability to block users from sharing sensitive files to places they shouldn’t, print only to where they should print, suppress copy and paste abilities to keep text from dropping into the wrong place, and more.
Google is working with popular third-party enterprise management and security companies like Palo Alto Networks, CrowdStrike, Microsoft, and more to give IT departments the ability to better integrate Chromebooks within their environments. For example, organizations using CrowdStrike XDR integration for threat monitoring can now use Google’s XDR connector framework to link up Chromebooks to the Falcon platform. Google also has connectors for organizations that use Chronicle and Cortex for access event reporting, as well as Azure AD and Netskope for Identity management.